Voting is underway in a by-election for a seat on Unison’s national executive council.
Phoebe Watkins is standing for the local government women’s seat. Unison United Left is backing her.
Phoebe told Socialist Worker, “We need people who are prepared to stand up for workers’ rights on union executives.
“One person can’t change everything. But if there’s someone arguing for a fighting strategy within a union, that can have an effect.
“It can make other people more confident to fight back.”
Phoebe said that this is even more important now there is a debate in the unions about how to take on the Tories’ cuts.
She said, “Ed Balls has said that Labour would impose pay ceilings on us.
“In the face of this we need people elected who are independent from the Labour machine.
“It makes my blood boil that some people are prepared to sign away workers’ pension rights.”
Phoebe stressed that it was important not to become demoralised by union leaders’ wavering over the pensions dispute.
“If you give up on trade unions as a key place that workers can organise, you give up on trying to win change,” she said.
“We need an organised left within the unions. Sometimes left wingers get accused of being ‘politicos’.
“But we’re standing up for what members want.”
The ballot closes on Friday 10 February. To get election materials and to get involved in the campaign email firstname.lastname@example.org